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Malian National Gets 25 Years for Murder of US Diplomat

FILE - Alhassane Ould Mohamed was among 22 Islamist militants who escaped from a prison in Niger's capital in June 2013.

A U.S. federal judge has sentenced a Malian national with ties to extremist groups in Africa to 25 years in prison for the murder of a U.S. diplomat 15 years ago in Niger.

Defendant Alhassane Ould Mohamed was taken into U.S. custody and indicted in 2013 for the killing of William Bultemeier and the attempted killing of a U.S. Marine as the two left a restaurant in the Niger capital, Niamey, in December 2000.

Investigators said Mohamed, also known as Cheibani, and another assailant confronted the two Americans and demanded the keys to their vehicle, which bore U.S. diplomatic plates. Prosecutors said the armed duo then opened fire, killing Bultemeier and wounding Marine Corps staff sergeant Christopher McNeely.

Police in Mali later arrested Mohamed, who then escaped custody and remained at large until his arrest eight years later in connection with an attack on a Saudi diplomatic convoy in Niger that left four dead.

While serving a 20-year term for that attack, he again escaped prison in 2013.

Mohamed was apprehended later that year by French forces and extradited to the United States. He pleaded guilty last month to the Bultemeier killing as part of a deal capping his sentence at 25 years.